Mediation Advisors Now Available to Assist People with Civil Disputes

By Mediate BC

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Are you having a conflict with someone that you need help to resolve?

Unsure what to do or where to go for help?

The Mediation Advisor service can help you figure out what your options are and link you with resources to put your plan in place. Best of all, this service is available free of charge thanks to funding provided by the Law Foundation of British Columbia and Family Justice Services Division.

What is a “civil dispute”?

A civil dispute is a disagreement between any two parties outside of separation and divorce, personal injury, child protection or criminal matters. Some examples of civil disputes are workplace conflicts, landlord tenant issues, human rights, wills and estates.

If you are unsure whether your situation applies, call the Mediate BC office and we will help you identify if your matter is a civil dispute.

How can they help?AboutImgPlaceholder

 The Mediation Advisor can:

  • help you sort out the facts of your case,
  • identify the various options to resolve your dispute, and
  • link you to resources to put your plan into action.

The Mediation Advisor can call the person you are in conflict with and see if it is possible to resolve the issue over the phone. If further conversation about the matter is required, the Mediation Advisor can connect you with a pro bono or low cost mediator to assist with more in-depth exploration of solutions.

Other possible resources they can connect you with are lawyers to obtain legal advice, or community resources that specialize in the issue you need assistance addressing.

What if I live outside of the Lower Mainland?CatchAll

The great news is that the Mediation Advisor is often able to assist people over the phone! You do not need to live in Vancouver or Victoria to access this service.

You can phone from the comfort of your home and the Mediation Advisor can assist you. This service is meant to support all residents of BC.

Where to Find Us

The Mediation Advisors are located at the Vancouver and Victoria Justice Access CentresPhone to book an appointment at the numbers below:

Victoria Mediation Advisor
225 – 850 Burdett Ave
Victoria, BC V8W 1B4
Phone: 250-356-6128
Vancouver Mediation Advisor
290 – 800 Hornby Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 2C5
Phone: 604-660-8406

 

 

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Online Dispute Resolution in BC: Case Study #2

Intro | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3a | Part 3b


Our last Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) case study showcased Consumer Protection BC’s online platform.

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Resolve your dispute with Consumer Protection BC’s online platform

We have an update: the platform will be used as an early resolution tool for select BC-licensed debt collection agencies. Their aim is to help consumers who don’t feel comfortable speaking to debt collectors over the phone, and who would rather communicate online.

Visit Consumer Protection BC’s blog page for more info on the debt collection pilot project.

Small Claims BC

We now continue with our ODR series, this time focusing on Small Claims BC.

British Columbians who have disputes where the amount is no more than $25,000 turn to Small Claims Court to find a resolution. However, on average, claims take over a year to reach a judgment.

SmallClaimsBC.ca provides British Columbians with an alternative way to settle disputes without going to court using their ODR platform. Using ODR can help save time and money, which make sense as priorities when you are disputing a smaller amount.

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Click to enlarge infographic

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New users to the platform will be asked a series of questions to create an online profile before starting their claim. If you already have an account set up as a “returning user”, you need only enter your credentials to access the dashboard.

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Enter your information to complete your online account. This creates a dashboard where your claim(s) can be accessed and managed.

Continue reading »

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Online Dispute Resolution in BC: Case Study #1

Intro | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3a | Part 3b


Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) is joining the legal landscape in BC, but many people–even some lawyers–are unfamiliar with its processes. We are covering the emergence and expansion of ODR in BC in a series of blog posts. (See our introduction here.)

In recent ODR-related news, the Civil Resolution Tribunal or “CRT” (which we discussed in our first post) has appointed 18 tribunal members. They will hear strata property and small claims cases, and will be able to make decisions that are binding and enforceable like court orders. You can read the press release from the CRT and BC Ministry of Justice here.

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In today’s post we focus on Consumer Protection BC’s ODR platform, a neutral online space where people can settle disputes with businesses, without going to court.

Click to view full infographic
Click to view full infographic

We created an infographic (below, right) which provides a snapshot of the process, from start to finish.

We tested the ODR tool ourselves, giving you an inside peek into the process, with screen captures to provide visual context.

Important note: the steps we took here are not exhaustive of the ways that you can resolve a dispute using ODR.

step01Create an account.  When you start a new dispute you will be asked questions regarding the nature of your complaint.

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But wait, there’s more!

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Online Dispute Resolution in British Columbia

Intro | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3a | Part 3b


The increase in number of self-represented litigants has created need for justice reform. The cost and time associated with bringing an action to court has urged the BC Government to re-examine the justice system and to take a closer look at needs and requirements of people looking to resolve disputes.

A shoutout to Freepik for this great graphic.
Resolve your dispute online–anytime, anywhere.

A BC Judges report (p. 19) in 2010 showed that 90% of Small Claims parties are self-represented; it can take up to 16 months (p. 27) for a small claims case to be heard. At the higher court level, less than 3% (p. 90) of BC Supreme Court civil cases ever make it to trial. These barriers form ongoing frustrations for the public trying to navigate a daunting court system on their own with limited resources.

Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) is an online platform that allows parties in a dispute the chance to come together online either in real time or at each party’s convenience to negotiate, reach an agreement and avoid going to court. Other jurisdictions, such as the UK Judiciary, have examined ODR. BC is also looking at merging modern technology with the traditional court system to resolve disputes.

The government established the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) in 2012 with the idea to increase access to justice. As as a new part of BC’s justice system, they are building from the ground up and expect to have it working later this year. The concept envisions an online dispute platform that can be accessed by the parties 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Primary focus will be on small claims matters and strata property disputes. The CRT builds on lessons gleaned from a number of pilot projects tested previously in BC.

In 2011 the BC Ministry of Justice started testing ODR, with initial focus on tenancy and consumer disputes. Participation was voluntary. The case volumes were low but results proved encouraging in terms of resolution and user satisfaction.

Today in BC, ODR experimenting continues with organisations such as Consumer Protection BC, BC Property Assessment Appeal Board and Small Claims BC. Mediate BC tested ODR for family matters.

Legal Services Society’s upcoming MyLawBC may give future consideration to the ODR platform: “The MyLawBC platform…could be expanded to include online mediation and arbitration services.”

A future blog post will give a glimpse into how ODR is utilized by Consumer Protection BC and Small Claims BC. We tested their dispute resolution tools and will walk you through the processes. To be continued…

Update 05/13/2015: See Case Study #1 on Consumer Protection BC’s ODR platform here.

Photo Credit: Freepik

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Conflict Resolution Week October 11-18, 2014

MediateposterMediate BC is launching BC’s first ever Conflict Resolution Week, October 11-18, 2014.

During the week of October 11-18, Mediate BC and its Roster mediators will be organizing events throughout the province to build awareness of healthy ways to resolve conflicts, including mediation.

The theme for this year is “Let’s Talk It Out”.

“Many people still believe that going to court is the default option to resolve conflicts. The truth is there are many ways to solve most conflicts outside of, or earlier in, the court system which can save you time and money,” says Mediate BC’s Executive Director Kari D. Boyle.

Check out events in your local community.

During Conflict Resolution Week, Kari Boyle, will also announce the highlights of the 2014 survey of its Roster Mediators which confirms that mediation is an effective, timely and affordable option. Join this free interactive seminar at the Vancouver Public Library (350 W Georgia Street, Vancouver) on Tuesday, October 14 from 12:00 – 1:00pm to learn more.

For questions and information contact: 1-888-713-0433 ext. 104 or training@mediatebc.com.

 

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